[adjective uh-prok-suh-mit; verb uh-prok-suh-meyt]


verb (used with object), ap·prox·i·mat·ed, ap·prox·i·mat·ing.

verb (used without object), ap·prox·i·mat·ed, ap·prox·i·mat·ing.

to come near in position, character, amount, etc.

Origin of approximate

1400–50; late Middle English < Late Latin approximātus drawn near to, approached (past participle of approximāre). See ap-1, proximate
Related formsap·prox·i·mate·ly, adverb Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for approximate

Contemporary Examples of approximate

Historical Examples of approximate

  • What is the approximate temperature for: (a) a moderate oven?

    Woman's Institute Library of Cookery, Vol. 1

    Woman's Institute of Domestic Arts and Sciences

  • First—Approximate weight of the machine when finished and equipped.

    Flying Machines

    W.J. Jackman and Thos. H. Russell

  • And can toleration in the active-spirited be ever anything more than approximate?

    The Coryston Family

    Mrs. Humphry Ward

  • The tale of one day will give an approximate idea of most of the days I spent with her.

    The First Violin

    Jessie Fothergill

  • It wouldn't give much of a signal, but you'd know our approximate position.

    Death Wish

    Robert Sheckley

British Dictionary definitions for approximate


adjective (əˈprɒksɪmɪt)

almost accurate or exact
inexact; rough; looseonly an approximate fit
much alike; almost the same
near; close together

verb (əˈprɒksɪˌmeɪt)

(usually foll by to) to come or bring near or close; be almost the same (as)
maths to find an expression for (some quantity) accurate to a specified degreeSee accurate (def. 4)
Derived Formsapproximative, adjective

Word Origin for approximate

C15: from Late Latin approximāre, from Latin proximus nearest, from prope near
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for approximate

early 15c., from Latin approximatus, past participle of approximare "to come near to," from ad- "to" (see ad-) + proximare "come near," from proximus "nearest," superlative of prope "near" (see propinquity).


early 15c., "to bring or put close," from approximate (adj.). Meaning "to come close" is from 1789. Related: Approximated; approximating.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

approximate in Medicine




To bring together, as cut edges of tissue.


Relating to the contact surfaces, either proximal or distal, of two adjacent teeth; proximate.
Close together. Used of the teeth in the human jaw.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.